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This week in golf

Teeing Off

July 26, 2007|Peter Yoon | Times Staff Writer

Five things to look for on the professional golf scene:

1. Nick Faldo, a six-time major championship winner, makes his Champions Tour debut this week at the Senior British Open.

Faldo turned 50 on July 18 and played the British Open last week at Carnoustie, where he shot 79-73 and missed the cut in his only competitive appearance this year. The Senior British Open is at Muirfield, the course where Faldo won two of his three British Open titles. This year marks the 20th anniversary of his first major, the British Open at Muirfield.

"This is very special," Faldo said. "Twenty years on from my first Open win, my son Matthew on the bag."

Faldo curtailed his playing career after the 2001 season and has spent much of his time as a television commentator, currently with CBS. He played six PGA Tour tournaments last year and did not make a cut.

"If you add his previous record on this golf course, then the guy's going to be a threat," said Loren Roberts, the defending champion. "We are expecting him to be competitive, especially here."

2. The Canadian Open is without a title sponsor for the second consecutive year, but it does have Jim Furyk, its defending champion, in the field.

A scheduling change moved the Canadian Open to an untimely spot -- after the British Open and immediately preceding the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship. Furyk was noncommittal when asked if he would be there had he not won last year.

"I wouldn't say, yes, I would definitely be here," Furyk said. "I won't say no, I definitely wouldn't be here. It would have probably been a call on how I felt."

No. 3 Furyk, No. 7 Vijay Singh, No. 36 Mike Weir, No. 38 Stephen Ames and No. 46 John Rollins are the only players among the top 50 in the world rankings in the Canadian Open field.

3. Speaking of Weir, he is the most prominent Canadian golfer on tour, and he's trying to become the first Canadian since Pat Fletcher in 1954 to win the Canadian Open.

He's also trying to climb the President's Cup standings for the event to be played at Royal Montreal. Currently Weir is 17th in the International team standings; only the top 10 get automatic berths. Because of the location, however, Weir would most certainly be a captain's pick should he not qualify.

4. The LPGA Tour moves across the Atlantic for the Evian Masters in France this week and the Women's British Open next week at St. Andrews in Scotland.

The British Open is a major, but the Evian Masters might be the more important tournament for the players. Its $3-million purse is the second largest on the LPGA Tour, trailing only the $3.1-million U.S. Women's Open.

The British Open purse is $2 million.

5. Could it be that Gary Player was talking about Shaun Micheel when he said he knew for a fact that at least one PGA Tour player had tried performance-enhancing drugs?

Micheel, diagnosed with low testosterone in April 2005, takes a synthetic steroid as part of his treatment. The 2003 PGA Championship winner rubs a clear gel into his shoulder and catches flak from fellow players.

"They say I'm using the clear," he said. "I do laugh about it. But I don't want to take this stuff. I don't like taking stuff for a cold."

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THE TOURNAMENTS

PGA TOUR:

Canadian Open

* When: Today-Sunday.

* Where: Angus Glen Golf Club, North Course (7,320 yards, par 72),

Markham, Ontario.

* TV: Golf Channel (Today-Friday, noon-3 p.m., 5:30-8:30 p.m.) and Ch. 2 (Saturday-Sunday, noon-3 p.m.).

* 2006 winner: Jim Furyk.

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LPGA/LADIES EUROPEAN TOURS:

Evian Masters

* When: Today-Sunday.

* Where: Evian Masters Golf Club (6,286 yards, par 72), Evian, France.

* TV: The Golf Channel (Today, 3:30-5:30 p.m., 9:30-11:30 p.m.; Friday, 3:30-5:30 p.m., 11 p.m.-1 a.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 3:30-6 p.m., 10 p.m.-midnight).

* 2006 winner: Karrie Webb.

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CHAMPIONS/PGA EUROPEAN SENIORS TOURS: Senior British Open

* When: Today-Sunday.

* Where: Muirfield Golf Links (6,970 yards, par 71), Gullane, Scotland.

* TV: TNT (Today-Friday, 9-11 a.m.) and Ch. 7 (Saturday-Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-noon).

* 2006 winner: Loren Roberts.

Associated Press

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STAT OF THE WEEK

* Michelle Wie, who plans to play in the Evian Masters in France this week and the Women's British Open next week, has withdrawn from two of her last three tournaments, managing to complete only seven rounds this year with an average score of just under 78. She hasn't broken par in competition since the final round at Evian last year, a total of 23 rounds.

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WORLD GOLF RANKINGS

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